How Essential Oils Can Help Your Garden | Nikura

5 min read / 18 June 2024 / yasmin sharp

Gardening Naturally: How Essential Oils Can Help Your Garden

Discover eco-friendly gardening tips with essential oils to naturally repel pests, control weeds, and boost plant growth.


Plants and flowers are in full bloom once again, which means you'll be spending more time outdoors enjoying the sun and the fruits of your labour in the garden.

But you won’t be the only one venturing out to bask in the sun. Insects, pests and predators are around in greater numbers and will need to be dealt with, and you’ll also have to contend with faster weed growth.

The good news is that using essential oils for gardening can help to tackle all of these problems and more, giving you an eco-friendly way of tending to your plants.

Read on and we’ll explain how you can use essential oils to help your garden flourish this spring and summer.

Can I use essential oils in the garden for pest control?

Some of the best natural garden pest repellents you can use in your garden include essential oils that contain anti-insect properties.

To make your own garden pest control using essential oils, try the following:

  1. Mix 8 drops of lavender essential oil, 5 drops of basil, 3 drops of cedarwood, 2 drops of peppermint and 2 drops of tea tree.
  2. Alternatively, you can use a single essential oil, such as peppermint oil, restricting use to a maximum of 20 drops.
  3. Add the essential oil to a 4 oz glass spray bottle, along with 1 oz of liquid Castile soap.
  4. Let the mixture sit for a little while and then add 3 oz of water.
  5. Give the bottle a good shake and spray as needed onto the soil around your flowers and plants.

If you want to try more than one essential oil, you could use a bug and insect repellent blend set. It brings together a combination of lavender, lemon, lemongrass and citronella to give your plants more protection in the garden.

Alternatively, you could use an insect repellent essential blend set that includes all of these oils separately, giving you more control over how weak or strong you need it to be, and giving you the chance to use the oils elsewhere around the home.

Is peppermint essential oil good for repelling garden pests?

Peppermint essential oil is a great choice for single oil sprays, as its main ingredients are menthol and menthone. Where menthol gives the oil scent and cooling sensation, menthone delivers a spasmolytic effect.

One study from 2016 found that when flies were given the choice between a peppermint oil and a candle with juice, they all avoided the oil and instead flew towards the candle.

How to use essential oil pest repellents in the garden

Like humans, plants can also sometimes have adverse reactions to essential oils.

You can carry out a patch test for your plants, by spraying a small amount onto a single leaf or petal, before leaving it to settle and returning the next day to see how it reacts.

When using the spray for preventative measures, aim to spray your plants every 1-2 weeks. If you are dealing with a specific pest issue, spritz the oils every few days for 1-2 weeks.

The best time of day to spray your plants is in the evening when the sun is going down, as the temperature should be lower.

Can I use essential oils in the garden for weed control?

You can also use essential oils for weed control, which can work as an effective alternative to chemical, shop-bought weed killers.

Make your own weed control spray by following the steps below:

  1. Mix 10 drops of wintergreen oil, 10 drops of citronella oil, 10 drops of orange oil and 10 drops of clove oil and add to a 6 oz glass spray bottle.
  2. Next, add 1 oz of liquid Castile soap to the mixture inside the bottle.
  3. Let the mixture sit for a while before adding 1 oz of water and ½ cup of white vinegar.
  4. Shake the bottle well to blend the ingredients and spray directly onto the weeds.

Citronella essential oil is a key ingredient in this recipe, as research has found it can work as an effective anti-mosquito agent.

When researchers tested the oil for its ability to prevent mosquito bites, they discovered that when it was combined with vanillin (a compound found in vanilla beans) it offered 3-hours’ worth of protection.

How to use essential oils in the garden as a plant booster

While essential oils can work as effective weed killers and pest control agents, using essential oils for plants can also help to boost growth.

This is not necessarily done by adding the oils to the soil as plant food, but through their natural protective abilities.

For example, spraying a lemongrass essential oil around flower and plant beds will boost their natural defence by helping to ward off unwanted pests and predators.

With fewer bugs and animals interfering with their growth, it allows plants and flowers to heal and build more robust immune systems.

The antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial properties provided by the likes of lemongrass oil give them a better chance of flourishing and overcoming extreme weather conditions.  

Final thoughts

There are lots of different ways you can use essential oils for flowers and plants in your garden.

From working as weed killers or pest repellent to helping them to flourish and grow without being constantly attacked by bugs and predators, it’s an environmentally friendly approach that is kinder to your plants than using chemical-based products.

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Medical Disclaimer

The content in this article is for informational and educational purposes only and is not intended to take the place of medical advice. Please consult your personal physician for any advice or treatment regarding specific health questions. Neither the article editor, writer, nor the organisation of Nikura takes any responsibility for possible health consequences following the information given in any article. All readers should consult their physician before taking any advice given within these articles.

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